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Report: Thomas Cook B752 at Glasgow and near Manchester on Oct 11th 2012 and Oct 12th 2012, smoke/fumes on board

By Simon Hradecky, created Thursday, Mar 14th 2013 11:56Z, last updated Thursday, Mar 14th 2013 11:56Z
A Thomas Cook Boeing 757-200, registration G-FCLA performing flight MT-3549 from Dalaman (Turkey) to Glasgow,SC (UK) with 231 passengers and 8 crew, had safely landed and had reached the gate, passengers were disembarking via the jetway attached to the L2 door. While approaching the gate the crew had activated the APU, the APU started normally without any anomaly and without smells, the crew subsequently focussed on post flight activities when some time during disembarkation the captain became aware of a strong smell and some blue haze in the cockpit. The captain (57, ATPL, 16,000 hours total, 12,000 hours on type) left the cockpit, discovered thick smoke in the cabin, the front section of the cabin was already empty however there were still passengers in the rear section of the cabin, the commander therefore went to the next intercom and ordered the immediate evacuation of the aircraft. The doors L4 and R4 were re-armed then opened, the slides deployed and passengers evacuated onto the apron, the door R3 was also re-armed and opened with passengers using that exit, the door L3 remained closed due to obstacles outside, doors L1/R1 were not used because the front section of the cabin was already empty. One of about 60 passengers using the slides received a very minor injury in the evacuation.

Maintenance identified the APU as source of the smoke and scheduled the APU to be replaced three days later, in the meantime the APU was deactivated under minimum equipment list requirements and the aircraft returned to service.

The following day the aircraft departed Glasgow for flight MT-3212 to Tenerife Sur Sofia Reina,CI (Spain) with 241 passengers and 8 crew. Following engine start the aircraft taxied out to the runway without any obvious smells, however, when engine thrust was increased for takeoff a strong fuel/oil smell became obvious. The crew, aware of the previous day’s events, were not concerned and continued the takeoff, the smell seemed to subside during the climb. The aircraft had reached FL350 about 50nm northwest of Manchester,EN (UK) when both pilots started to feel unwell with light headedness and dizziness. Both pilots donned their oxygen masks, declared PAN and initiated a diversion to Manchester and began to action the fumes and smoke checklists. The pilots improved, there seemed to be no fumes or smell in the cabin, the pilots thus stopped at the first completion point of the checklist. Some time later, while on approach to land, a lavatory smoke detector activated. The crew continued for a safe landing on Manchester’s runway 23L about 30 minutes after leaving FL350.

The British Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) released their bulletin into both events reporting that following the first event maintenance decided to replace the APU, however deferred the replacement until three days later, deactivated the APU and released the aircraft to service under minimum equipment list requirements. There was one very minor injury as result of the evacuation of about 60 passengers.

The following day after landing both flight crew were taken to a hospital for checks, both were released the same day. The aircraft underwent engineering checks and engine ground runs were conducted with no anomaly identified. It was suspected that residual oil may have remained in the air conditioning or equipment cooling systems as result of the previous day’s events and engineering activities. The aircraft departed for its next flight about 9 hours after landing and resumed service the following day.

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